Diego Costa has been vital for Chelsea for much of the Premier League season. With 17 goals so far this year, Antonio Conte’s side certainly wouldn’t be where they are today without him.
However, there can be no denying that the Spaniard has dropped off somewhat in recent weeks. He suffered a lull in goalscoring form towards the end of January and leading into February, and whilst he has bagged a few goals in recent weeks, his performances have been nowhere near as good when compared to earlier in the campaign.
After all, being a striker is much more than being just a goalscorer – and Diego Costa’s general form has undoubtedly been on a downwards trajectory over the last month or two.
This is a theme that appears to have continued into the FA Cup, too, with a rather disappointing performance coming against Manchester United.
The Spaniard was simply unable to hold on to the ball against the Red Devils, with 4 dispossessions the most of any player in a Chelsea shirt. Similarly, the ball wasn’t sticking to his feet, clocking a total of 4 unsuccessful touches that forced Chelsea into losing the ball. The Blues weren’t punished because of these mistakes on this occasion, given Manchester United’s lack of attacking strength, but this poses a real problem going forward.
In front of goal he had a poor day too, failing to register a single shot on target. He was also offside once, with Costa seemingly a little off the pace and struggling for rhythm with those supplying hi.
The striker himself was clearly getting frustrated, too, committing 3 fouls – including a nasty one against Phil Jones – suggesting desperation.
Antonio Conte certainly won’t be too concerned, given Chelsea’s league standing, but it might be time for him to start looking more closely at his forward. If this downwards trajectory continues, Chelsea could seriously struggle to see out what should be a title-winning campaign.